The Los Angeles Lakers, have not only changed head coaches over the last few days; they have radically altered their plan of attack, as the “Los Angeles Times” reported Monday, that the club has hired former Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni, to replace Mike Brown, fired by the squad last week. According to the paper; the contract is a three-year pact, which reportedly will pay the veteran bench boss $12 million over the life of the contract. D’Antoni, rejoins the coaching ranks in the Association; months after resigning the Knicks job, when he realized he had lost his club’s confidence and would never get it back.
The move reunites the new Lakers coach with an old friend; as his starting point guard is veteran Steve Nash, who ran the offense for D’Antoni when the pair was with the Phoenix Suns. Nash and D’Antoni, reportedly have a close relationship and most likely was a big factor in the decision to give the experienced coach another ride on the Association’s coaching carousel.
The change on the bench; could not be a more radical departure from the philosophy that Mike Brown espoused as a head coach. Brown; concentrates n the defensive end of the floor and would be quite pleased if his team won every contest by a 72-70 margin. D’Antoni, however thinks of defense as an after-thought and rarely sees an open shot that he doesn’t want one of his players to take. With the range of offensive talent now in Los Angeles, the hiring could be a perfect fit for both the team and their new coach.
Former Lakers head coach Phil Jackson, reportedly was on the inside track to take back over the Lakers bench for the third time, as late as Sunday night. The paper’s sources however, stated that the former coach for Los Angeles, wanted too much from the club to return, which is why they went after D’Antoni. The new Lakers head coach is recovering from knee-replacement surgery and most likely will not be on the bench for at least a week and possibly two. The team is expected to introduce their new bench boss at a press conference later this week. Los Angeles assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff, will remain as interim coach until D’Antoni can join the squad.